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Department ofReligious Studies

Roberto Mata

Roberto Mata

Associate Professor

Roberto Mata is an assistant professor of Contextual Biblical Studies at Santa Clara University. He received his M.Div. and Th.D. in New Testament/Early Christianity from Harvard Divinity School. Dr. Mata’s research focuses on migration in biblical literature and its intersection with colonialism, race/ethnicity, and diaspora. Dr. Mata’s current book project uses migrant narratives to interrogate Revelation’s use of the Exodus story and recast it as subversive call to migrate and address the colonial situation of the seven “churches.” A passionate instructor, Dr. Mata is the recipient of Harvard's Derek Bok Center Award for teaching excellence and Harvard Divinity’s William’s Fellowship. He also obtained a nationally recognized teaching certificate from the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE). As a mentor, Dr. Mata has worked with several minority students and supported their successful application to prominent schools, including Harvard Divinity, Yale University and the University of Chicago. Dr. Mata is a recipient of various fellowships from recognized organizations in theological education, including the Hispanic Theological Initiative (HTI), the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE), and the Louisville Institute. He also serves the academy as Vice-president of La Comunidad of Latinx Scholars and Theologians.

Research Interests:

Apocalypse of John
Jewish Diaspora
Border Pedagogy


Latinx Biblical Interpretation
Apocalypse Now
Racializing Jesus
The Bible and Empire
Martyrdom (Seminar)
Religions of the Book

  • Coming Out of Babylon: The Eschatological Migration of God’s People in the Apocalypse of John (Under contract with Lexington Fortress Press).
Peer-Reviewed Articles
  • “The Deportation of “Juan”: Migration Rhetoric and Empire in the Book of Revelation” in Open Theology 7:11 (2021), 654-669.

  • “God’s Migrant Caravan: Exodus Rhetoric as Missionary Strategy in Acts 7:1-51” (Under Review).

  • "The Migration of the Lamb: Migration Rhetoric and the Sacrificial Lamb Metaphor of Revelation 5:1-14” (Under Review).

  • Witches, Heroines, and Jezebel: Mapping the Agency of Jezebel in the Book of Revelation (Under Review).

  • Decolonizing Diets: Idol food, Jewish Diaspora, and the Crisis of John’s Apocalypse (Under Review).
Peer-Reviewed Chapters
  • “Self-Deporting from Babylon? A Latinx Borderlands Reading of Revelation 18:4” Reading Biblical Texts Together: Doing Minoritized Biblical Criticism (Eds. Fernando Segovia and Benny T. Lieu; SBL Press 2022).

  • “2 &3 John: A Latinx Diaspora Reading of Hospitality in Latinx Perspectives of the New Testament (Eds. Osvaldo Vena and Leticia Guardiola-Saenz; Lexington Press, 2022).

  • “And I Saw Googleville Descend from Heaven: Reading Revelation in Gentrified Latinx Communities of Silicon Valley" in Land of Stark Contrasts: Faith-Based Responses to Homelessness in the United States, ed. Manuel Mejido Costoya (Fordham University Press, 2021).

  • “Border Crossing into the New Jerusalem: The Eschatological Migration of God’s People in Revelation 2:12-2:29” in The Bible and Migration (Edited by Efrain Agosto & Jackie Hidalgo. Palgrave Press, 2018).

  • “Beyond Socialization and Attrition: Border Pedagogy in Biblical Studies,” In Transforming Graduate Biblical Education Ethos and Discipline (Edited by Elisabeth Schüssler-Fiorenza and Kent Harold Richards. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2010).
Handbook Entries (8000 words)
  • “The Migrant Church in the Book of Revelation” in The Oxford Handbook of the Bible and Migrations (Oxford University Press, Forthcoming Spring 2023).

  • “The Bible and Transnational Studies” in The Oxford Handbook of Latin and Latinx America (Eds. Fernando Segovia and Ahida Pilarski: Oxford University Press, Forthcoming Fall 2023).

  • “Diaspora and The Book of Revelation” in The T&T Clark Handbook to Hellenistic Jewish Literature in Greek, T&T Clark Press, Forthcoming Fall 2023.
Public Scholarship Contributions
  • “Exodus Testimonios: Migrant Spirituality in the U.S./Mexico Borderlands" in Revista: The Harvard Review for Latin America, 22 (vol. 2): 2021.

  • “La Construccion del muro: Una lectura de la Nueva Jerusalen y sus muros desde la experiencia de la migracion Hispana” en Christus: Revista de teologia, ciencias humanas y pastoral n. 818 (2017: 32-37).

In the News

April 1, 2021

Roberto Mata spoke at Harvard's ReVista Launch with the theme of religion and spirituality.